Kris Drever - Blackwater
The main reason for all the accolades is his singing voice - a rather nasal but warm tenor brogue with a pleasingly precise inflection that lends the material he interprets an undeniable ring of authenticity. This includes a fair number of traditional songs and tunes, but also several well chosen songs by contemporary writers, most notably 'Edinburgh's resident genius', Sandy Wright, who penned both the opening ''Steel And Stone (Black Water)'' and "Beads And Feathers". Andy McKay's country-tinged "Poor Man's Son" is a sublime piece of jail-bound story telling and Boo Hewerdine's socially aware "Harvest Gypsies" the only upbeat number in a set dominated by mid-tempo material and ballads. Thus, as with Lau, the delicate arrangements really catch your ear. Drever's melodic and muscular guitar work is his other major asset, although this is best heard in a live solo setting; of the two instrumental sets, "Honk Toot" is the stronger. Fans of The Pogues will recognise a lullaby-like version of "Navigator", and of the traditional songs, the most memorable is the bittersweet "Green Grows The Laurel", which has considerable chorus appeal. The unlisted bonus track is "Farewell To Fuineray", the song that landed him the deal for this album.